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Baldwin IV died, and his death was quickly

followed by the probably unnatural taking off of Baldwin V. The settlement was thus

brought to naught, partly by the order of

nature and partly by the crime of the regent Raymond. Sybilla hereupon reappeared

from obscurity, and, supported by the Patriarch of the city, procured the coronation of herself and Guy of Lusignan as King

and Queen of Jerusalem. This procedure

led to civil war. Many of the barons refused to acknowledge the new sovereigns,

and took up arms under the lead of Raymond,

and with the ostensible object of raising

Isabella, a sister of Sybilla, to the throne

of Palestine. Such was the bitterness of

the strife that, although the queen by her

prudent and conciliatory measures succeeded

in winning over most of the insurgent nobles, the remainder in their implacable distemper allied themselves with Saladin! Thus

when the storm of Moslem fury was already about to break upon the kingdom won

from the Infidels by the swords of Short

Hose, Tancred, and Godfrey, the day of

wrath was hastened by the treason of those

who wore the sacred badge on their shoulders.


Whom the Supernals would

destroy they first make

mad. So it was with the

Christians of Palestine.

At the very crisis when

Saladin, after settling the

affairs of Egypt and Syria, was ready to fall upon the kingdom of

Jerusalem, that disaster was precipitated by

the rashness of a conscienceless baron of the

Holy Land.

In the year 1186 a certain Reginald de

Chatillon, an adventurer more fit to be

called a robber than a knight, fell upon a

Mohammedan castle on the borders of the

Arabian desert, and having captured the

place made it his head-quarters, from which

he sallied forth to plunder the caravans

passing back and forth between Egypt and

Mecca. Hearing of this lawless work the

sultan, Saladin, with due regard to the existing treaty, sent a message to the king of

Jerusalem demanding redress for the outrage committed by his vassal. Guy of

Lusignan, who had lately received the crown,

was either unable or unwilling to punish

Reginald for his crimes, and Saladin was

left to pursue his own course. He immediately put himself at the head of an army

of eighty thousand men and began an invasion of Palestine.

The march of the Moslems was first directed against the fortress of Tiberias, the

most important stronghold of the Christians in the northern part of their kingdom. It

was all-important that King Guy should

save this outpost from falling into the hands

of the Turcomans. He accordingly mustered

his forces for the conflict and proceeded

in the direction of Tiberias. His whole

army numbered no more than twelve hundred knights and twenty thousand infantry,

and even this small force was shaken with

quarrels and animosities. Raymond of Tripoli was accounted a traitor, and the king

himself was considered a coward. Yet upon

such a force under such a commander was

now to be staked the fate of the Christian

kingdom of Jerusalem.

It was midsummer of 1187. The two

armies met in the plain of Tiberias. Events

soon showed that Saladin was as superior

in skill as he was in numbers. During the

first day's battle he succeeded in forcing

the Christians into a position where they

could procure no water. He then fired the

neighboring woods and almost suffocated his

enemies with smoke and heat. On the following morning he renewed the battle with

great fury, and although the Templars and

Hospitallers, as well as the foot, fought with

their old time bravery, they were surrounded,

hewed down, piled in heaps, exterminated.

All the principal leaders of the Christian army

were either slain or taken. The Grand Master

of the Hospitallers was mortally wounded.

He of the Templars, the Marquis of Montferrat, Reginald de Chatillon, King Guy